Greetings Sifu Waller: I like your Xmas views.

 Margot & I decided no presents for each other this year.

 Well that is not strictly correct. I give Margot $210, she gives me $210.

 We then pool the $420 & send it to India where a Tibetan Buddhist Monk's father will have an operation and regain his sight.

 I think I am starting to get that Christmas feeling again.

 All the best Sifu Waller to you & yours

 Cheerio, Ron B.


Other forms

We teach a number of forms derived from the Yang Cheng Fu form, including sword, staff and 2-person sets.


It's all made up

Zen koan are very good fun. They wake you up.

Read a few koan (or Krishnamurti) and you begin to realise that almost everything is made up.

Conventions, ideas, beliefs and traditions encase our lives. When you see how much is made up, you find an enormous reservoir of humour within. So much that we worry about isn't actually real. It was all made up. It is only real if you believe it to be.

Consider: engagement, marriage, fidelity, infidelity, trust, faith, authority, hierarchy, money, mortgages, loans, commitment, debt, insurance, fashion, prestige, status and meaning.

The list is relentless, feel free to add your own topics.

None of it is really real. If you grew up in the jungle, raised by chimps, would you care about your car? Why do you care, now? Because somebody conditioned you to be bothered.

Welcome to the real world, Neo.


Peter Southwood's tips #9 The essence

Focus on the essence of the movement, drill or exercise.
What is its intrinsic purpose?

Understand the nature of something will enable you to see why, how and what is being trained.

A lighter sword...

After a little searching Sifu found a Yang-style sabre for me that weighed less than 1lb.
It is not a real sword but is definitely better than a wushu sword.

For some of the movements I can use the second hand to supplement or to actually hold the handle.
This helps a lot.



In just a few hours time reading on your website I feel I've gained more understanding than I have in 47 years of living. Words cannot express my gratitude.

 (Roger Hawkins)



It is counterproductive and dangerous to seek shortcuts. There are none to be found and the futile search for them will distract you and make it less likely that you will ever achieve a high level of expertise.
(Zhang Yun)


5 styles

There are 5 recognised styles of tai chi chuan:
  1. Yang
  2. Chen
  3. Sun
  4. Wu
  5. Hao


Love and hate

Students love you when they first get into the class and then they hate you when they realise it's actually pretty hard work.

The thrill of novelty becomes resentment and jealousy...

(Andrew Clarke)


External chin na?

We travelled down to train with a YMAA instructor who specialised in chin na. Sifu, Peter Southwood, Michael Dutton and myself travelled in Michael's car together. The instructor was called Nigel. Unbeknownst to us he was actually teaching external chin na. This though proved to be embarrassing. Nigel called for a volunteer and suggested that they be as awkward as they like. Peter indicated that Sifu should step forward. Well, Nigel just couldn't put anything on Sifu. He used an increasing amount of force and eventually lost his temper. Peter commented that Nigel was not using internal body mechanics, and wrote to Dr Yang about the workshop. It had been an expensive weekend and we had learned nothing new.

(Shaun Ullah)



Trainee instructors with Sifu Waller are lineage students with considerable experience in tai chi.
They possess a thorough understanding of the art.

These are the most dedicated students in the school.


Adapt, change & improvise

Our school motto is simple: Adapt, change & improvise.

It captures the essence of (applied) tai chi and baguazhang, and encourages an open, flexible attitude to life.



Modern life can make you feel strung out and tired.

It is important to find ways to earth yourself. To be centred once again and complete.



Tai chi is an ideal form of exercise for people of all ages. Emphasis is placed upon mobile joints, relaxed muscles and natural movement.

The training encourages a calm mind and composed emotions.


Teaching experience

Sifu Waller has considerable experience teaching tai chi chuan:
  1. Dynamic Balancing Boxing (1999 -2004)
  2. Age Concern North Tyneside (2004 - 2008)
  3. Age Concern Newcastle (2004 - present day)
  4. Newcastle Tai Chi (2004 - present day)


The role of qigong in the internal martial arts

Taijiquanbaguazhang and xingyiquan use forms to practice combat movements, build strength and gain agility.
The forms are highly intricate, with many different levels of skill.

Yiquan (mind fist)/dachengquan (the great accomplishment) - an offshoot of xingyiquan - does not use forms.
Instead, it uses static standing qigong postures in lieu of form.

Xingyiquan uses form(s) for power development.
Dachengquan uses standing qigong.
See the difference?

What should a tai chi school do?The answer is somewhat self evidentisn't it?
Taijiquan is not dachengquan.
It uses forms, not standing qigong postures.
Read The Tai Chi Classics... There is no mention of standing qigong but a whole lot of information about movement.


5 stages

There are 5 stages to learning any form:

(i) The pattern

The outline, the sequence of movements.
This stage of learning is often called 'the square form' because it is crude and largely inaccurate.
The form is practiced slowly.

Unfortunately, most tai chi people only learn the first stage, and remain a perpetual beginner.
Neglecting the remaining stages leaves the form meaningless and empty.

(ii) Internal strength

Internal biomechanical concerns are incorporated.
The way in which the body is used is now the concern.
Every single movement is imbued with internal strength.

An understanding of The Way and Its Power, the tai chi classics and taoism is necessary.

(iii) Application

Traditionally, it is said that there are at least seven applications for every form posture.
There are three types of martial application within form: chin na, jing and shuai jiao.
Competence in all three areas of skill is required.
A student must be capable of skilfully applying the form in a thorough and convincing way against an earnest attacker.

Applications must adhere to the tai chi principles (4 ounces of pressure, softness, stickiness, yielding, peng etc).

(iv) Shen

Shen is a vitality that can be seen shining through a person; it enlivens the body and refreshes the mind.
The eyes look expressive and alert.

For 'shen' to manifest, a person must lose all self-consciousness.
There is no more self or other, just movement, just sensation/feeling.
Instead of feeling apart from what is happening, we feel the physics of the movement, the kinetic flow.

(v) Natural

Instead of glossy, flamboyant, outward show, the attention turns inward.
The tai chi is not ornate.
It is simple, direct, flowing and natural.
Within the slow spirals, curves and gentle steps can be found a grace that is difficult to articulate.

Cigarettes & alcohol

Addictive substances are used to prop people up.

A student called Steve once commented that after a few weeks of taijiquan he’d stopped drinking altogether. No effort was involved; he just didn’t feel like it anymore.

He remarked, “Happy people don’t drink.”



I never get the chance to talk to you as we leave in a hurry after class but I would like to say in this email how much we admire and respect you, your clarity and common sense approach to many aspects of the martial arts cuts through so much crap taught by others; we are humbled and honoured for you allowing us to train with you, I do not think some of the other students understand the difference between other classes and yours, believe me we do; I guess because we involved with other stuff we can appreciate just how awesome the art is you teach.

I was talking to Jonothan going home tonight and we remarked on just how deep tai chi penetrates into every aspect of our lives, moving, thinking, interaction with others, it really pervades everything you do when you allow it to.

It must be frustrating to have all this cool stuff and not be able to get it across to the general public.


Heavier weapons

One day a week Sifu Waller's home training involves the use of oak weapons for the stick and staff forms and drills. 


Sabre form

The sabre form looks almost as long as side A of pao chui, but is actually a little bit shorter. There are a number of repeated postures too.


Peter Southwood's tips #8 Burn your bridges

Do not allow yourself excuses. Do not spare yourself. Do not lie to yourself. Do not let fear or laziness hold you back.
Take every step deliberately and knowingly.
Without compromise.



If you have studied another martial art, then it is probably quite difficult to appreciate how tai chi can be used effectively in combat.

Tai chi's slow-motion movements lead people to doubt the art.